Defense leads S. Carolina women past Purdue 72-61

By Michael Marot

Associated Press

Published: Monday, March 19 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

South Carolina forward Ashley Bruner, right, defends Purdue forward Sam Ostarello during the first half of NCAA tournament second-round women's college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Monday, March 19, 2012.

Michael Conroy, Associated Press

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Markeshia Grant scored 21 points, Ieasia Walker added 17 and fifth-seeded South Carolina beat No. 4 seed Purdue 72-61 in the second round of the NCAA women's tourney on Monday night.

The Gamecocks (25-9) will face top-seeded Stanford in the regional semifinals on Saturday in Fresno, Calif.

Brittany Rayburn scored 13 in her final game at Purdue (25-9). She finished her career with 1,795 points, good for No. 6 in school history. KK Houser led the Boilermakers with 15.

But Rayburn and her teammates never quite figured out South Carolina's defense, which forced 20 turnovers.

Purdue closed to 53-46 midway through the second half, but the Gamecocks thwarted the comeback with six straight points. Purdue never got closer than eight again.

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